Learning and Sharing

Social Curiosity

on March 17, 2015




Social wonder is different from world wonder.  Social wonder is having a curiosity about other people and what they think, feel and/or experience.  To develop a friendship or make a curious connection, we need to show others that we have social wonders about them.  We need to be able to share a social imagination.

At the conference last week, I wrote down something that Michelle Garcia Winner said, “When you say “nothing” we have nothing to think about”.  Then I read it again in the book that I bought


Michelle writes that, “language is supposed to trigger our partner’s imagination or sense of wonder.  If a student responds by saying “nothing” he effectively cuts off the fuel to ignite other people’s connection to him”.

I really like the lessons in this book.  The Lunch Buddies are at a level of social thinking in which they need to have the social thinking concepts presented in different ways.  This week, our lesson/activity was centered around social curiosity and asking wondering questions about the people we are with. We started out with the visual seen below



When we are wondering about the people we are with we ask questions.  Although difficult, it is important that the Lunch Buddies “learn that each person has their own special interests and enjoyments about the world, and that each of us can share in each other’s pleasures”.  If we know that Mrs. Rairden took a trip to Nashville to see her son, then we imagine her in Nashville and wonder about all the fun things that she did there.  We would then ask questions based on what we are wondering or imagining about her trip to Nashville.

Many of the Lunch Buddies lack extended reciprocity in their interactions with others.  We need to practice asking follow-up questions to keep our conversations going.  If we ask Mrs. Rairden what she did on her trip and she tells us that she went out to dinner with her son, a follow-up question would be “Where did you go to have dinner?”.

Supporting comments show our friends that we are listening and interested in what they have to say. Comments such as “cool” or “bummer” show that we are paying attention to the speaker.

Bridging questions are baiting questions.  A good example of a bridging question is this one that a Lunch Buddie asked in the Monday group, “Did you know that West Virginia used to be a part of Virginia?”.  The question came out of the blue.  We know that this Lunch Buddie has a particular interest in geography and social studies.  We knew right away that he wanted to monopolize the conversation and talk about his interest.

So, we combined four lessons (Lessons #43, #44, #45 and #47) into one.  After the lesson is presented we provide lots of opportunities to practice.  The lessons come from Michelle Garcia Winner’s book, Think Social! A Social Thinking Curriculum for School-Age Students.  The book is available at

Thinkin’ about you!





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